Postcard to Sean

for S.H.

or fraternity or chance. For example, I might write
I thought of you the other day on a trail through woods
due south of the Minnesota River, just west of the capitol.
So quiet there I heard critters scurry along the path and leaves
and twigs rustle and snap—my own feet falling while I puzzled
my way through some particular poem part, wanting to know
more about prayer, a specific Catholic prayer I used to recite.
Sean, a bird tweeted or trilled a morning song quite short,
quite grand. It got me wondering what creature calls with notes
above the rattle? Which led me back to you, you who might know
or research until you did, you out west in Fairbanks, north of me
yet, still sleeping, or up with your baby boy as once I was up
with my baby girl. Or I might write to fatherhood instead
or happenstance. Because postcards to people are postcards
to ideas to ideals to abstractions; they’re psalms, quite short.
Anyway, I wanted to reach out to you and these other things to say,
brother, I looked it up. I’m pretty sure it was an indigo bunting.

This poem is part of Poetry Northwest’s “Life List” feature.

Michael Kleber-Diggs is a poet and essayist. His debut poetry collection, Worldly Things, won the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize and will be published by Milkweed Editions in June of this year. Among other places, Michael’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Great River Review, Water~Stone Review, Poem-a-Day, Poetry Northwest, Potomac Review, Hunger Mountain, Memorious, and a few anthologies. Michael is a past Fellow with the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, a past-winner of the Loft Mentor Series in Poetry, and the former Poet Laureate of Anoka County libraries.